Entrepreneurship Student Wins Top Award In Global Competition
by Dave Heller, University Communications; additional material from COSSPP news archives
A member of the 2018 cohort of Social Science Scholars has emerged as the winner of a statewide competition for student-entrepreneurs and will represent Florida at the national finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) next year.
Senior Hannah King — owner of Woven Futures, a business that markets the unique craftsmanship of Guatemalan textile weavers — earned a cash prize of $2,500 and about $20,000 worth of business services after winning the GSEA competition in Miami, Nov. 14.
Now, King will join about 30 student-entrepreneurs from around the country to compete at the national finals in Denver in January. The winner of that competition will represent the United States at GSEA’s Global Finals next April in Macao, China.
King’s business model focuses on having a socially responsible impact, emphasizing sustainable economic opportunities and production methods, as well as ethical business standards. In this photo, King stands with Juana and Carmen of the Mayan Voices Women’s Cooperative, a partner of Woven Futures.
King, who has dual citizenship in America and Guatemala, was inspired to create Woven Futures after meeting artisans in Guatemala and discovering their colorful, high-quality handcrafted products. Her business has found success with a “mindful” mix of traditional Latin American weaving techniques and modern fashion sensibilities that ultimately offer economic stability to families struggling with abject poverty there.
“It was not a coincidence that I had this dual citizenship and ability to live as both a Guatemalan and American,” King says on her company’s website. “I knew that my role as both an American and Guatemalan could have huge potential. That’s when I began Woven Futures.”
King hopes her business, which sells naturally dyed, bohemian handbags and accessories for women, offers inspiration to those who want to make a social impact with their purchases.
“Delve a little deeper into the meaning of what they do, whether that is how we pursue our passions, how we treat others, or even how we shop,” she said. “It all makes a difference.”
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, founded by Saint Louis University, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Its mission is to provide mentorship, recognition and connections to help students take their businesses to the next level.
This is not the first award for King and her enterprise. She has won several competitions for her work, including first place in the 2016-2017 InNOLEvation Challenge at the Moran School.King also won the inaugural Turkey Tank competition against the University of Florida, in partnership with FSU senior Geranise Dorce, for developing a program called Read to Rise designed to increase literacy rates in Léogâne, Haiti. She graduated from the Domi Station Get Started program as one of two selected student entrepreneurs. Early this year she was selected to participate in the 2018 Future Founders cohort, a nonprofit fellowship that empowers the development of top student entrepreneurs across the country.